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11.26.2012

Peppermint White Chocolate Krispie Treats







 As a mom I can' count how many times I am put on the spot, with Oh yeah you need to make me a treat for school tomorrow... or as a wife. "hey hun, can you make something..... about 100 sales people tomorrow at work?"


In times like those with my son's school, cereal treats are the way to go. Cheap, no bake, fast, and the kids can help. 

Last week as a treat for my oldest son we make a batch of rice krispie treats with his favorite ingredient... peppermint white chocolate. He is the only one in the house that loves those Andes mints as much as I do. So the whole batch of Krispie Treats was just for us!


Peppermint White Chocolate Krispie Treats

Ingredients:

5 cups rice krispie cereal
1 10 oz  bag of marshmallows
1/4 cup butter
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1 bag of Andes Peppermint Crunch White Chocolates, Chopped (Or Hershey's Peppermint Kisses)

Directions:

In a sauce pan over medium heat add butter, marshmallows and peppermint together. mix continuously until melted and smooth. In a large bowl mix cereal and marshmallows together until coated. Work quickly because it will harden as it cools.

Press mixture into a parchment paper lined pan.  Press chopped mints on top of the treats. Set aside to cool completely. Just an hour or 2. Cut into bars!

Easy peasy holiday party treat for your kids!

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11.21.2012

Slow Cooker Eggnog Bread Pudding and a Thanksgiving Link Up




I know there are some of you out there who are going to be scrambling at the last minute for a Thanksgiving dish. Don't worry I've got you covered today.



Not only am a sharing a easy peasy dessert recipe that even the non baker can wow their guests with.... but I will be sharing my favorite Thanksgiving dishes as well as a link up of other bloggers and their favorite Turkey Day foods!



Bread pudding is a favorite in our house. I can't count the variations I have made over the years. This being one of the best and easiest!

All you need.... a slow cooker, some old dry bread, eggs, milk, eggnog. Seriously... that's about it folks. Just set it and forget it.



Slow Cooker Eggnog Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

1 loaf day old bread ( I used brioche)
7 eggs
2 cups eggnog
1 cup milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Additional eggnog for serving   

Directions:

Tear bread into 1 inch pieces. In a large bowl whisk eggs, eggnog, milk, sugar, vanilla and spices together. Fold in bread pieces until coated.

Pour into your slow cooker. ( I use a 5qt)

Place slow cooker on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. The bread pudding is done when the center has set and no longer jiggles.

Serve hot with cold eggnog poured over the top. Optional add a few dashes of cinnamon or nutmeg on top of your dished pudding. 

Do you have a favorite recipe for Thanksgiving you want to share? If your a blogger go ahead and link up below. Don't have a blog? Well go ahead and leave the recipe in the comments to share! 


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11.20.2012

Maple Pecan Baklava



Growing up my mom would make us Baklava every year during the holidays. I eagerly helped her lay the layers of the thin flaky phyllo dough. I remember thinking wow.... this is a tricky one. Then of course after all the layering the wait. OH the wait. It had to sit over night. That's the worst thing you can do to a kid. Call them over to help make a sweet treat. Then say  "hands off kid, not until tomorrow."



After becoming and adult, I rarely tackled making Baklava and my mom hasn't made it in probably over a decade! This Thanksgiving, I decided I needed to tackle one of my favorite holiday treats but with a Turkey Day twist on it.



Being a New Hampshire girl, I have maple syrup running through my veins. So naturally I switched the honey in a traditional baklava for some maple. Since pecans are a common used ingredient in Thanksgiving baking, I figured I could use those instead of the walnuts and pistachios I normally use.


The result?



Flaky, mapley, sticky, nutty, cinnamony, awesomeness.

Maple Pecan Baklava

Ingredients:

3 tsp ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups pecans
1 pound thawed phyllo dough
1 cups unsalted butter (melted)

FOR THE SYRUP 

1 1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/4 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon    

Directions:

In a food processor add in pecans, and 3 tsp cinnamon. Pulse until finely diced. Divide into thirds. 

Unroll phyllo dough and trim the sides so it will fit in a   9x13 pan.

Brush the bottom of your pan with melted butter. Lay a sheet of phyllo dough on the bottom. Brush the top with melted butter and top with another sheet of dough. Repeat this process with a total of 10 phyllo dough sheets.  Sprinkle with 1/3 of your nut mixture. 

Top with a sheet of phyllo, brush with butter and continue that process for at least 6 sheets.  Top with another 1/3 of your nut mixture.  Repeat the process of laying 6 sheets of dough, brushing each with melted butter.

Sprinkle with the remaining nuts. Layer with phyllo dough and continue alternating with melted butter and sheets of phyllo for about10 sheets. 

Bake at 320 for 30-40 minutes or until it starts to get golden on top. Slice into squares. ( I cut 28) Return  to oven and bake for 20 minutes. 

Remove from oven to cool for 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile prepare your syrup. In a sauce pan over medium heat, add maple, water, sugar and cinnamon. Bring to a boil for about 10 minutes or just until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth. 

Cut baklava a 2nd time in the same spots you did during the baking process. Pour syrup over the entire pan.

Allow to sit covered at room temperature overnight or 12 hours. 

Cut a third time and enjoy!     
  



 





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11.19.2012

No Knead Maple Oatmeal Bread or Dinner Rolls with Maple Cinnamon Butter



Homemade bread has a seat at our Thanksgiving table. Normally we serve my Aunt Bett's homemade dinner rolls. I've talked about them here before. Her rolls are my memory trigger food. Just the smell of them brings me back to her kitchen as a kid sipping on Swiss Miss with an absurd about of marshmallow fluff  on top!


This year I'm on bread duty as we head to my Mom's for Thanksgiving at her house. I'm making a basket of assorted rolls, multigrain, white, garlic, and maple oatmeal.


I like this recipe for my sandwiches as well as dinner rolls. Pictured here, you can see it is the perfect sandwich loaf. But with just a couple extra steps you can make it into rolls for your Thanksgiving as well!! It pairs deliciously with my cinnamon maple butter. This butter is such a cinch to whip up you need it on your table this Turkey Day!



No Knead Maple Oatmeal Bread Dinner Rolls

Ingredients:

5-6 1/2 cups King Arthur Flour Bread Flour 
1 cup old fashioned oats plus some extra for topping
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (proofed if needed)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1 tbs salt
1/4 cup melted butter for brushing

Directions:

In a sauce pan, add salt, butter, water, milk, and maple syrup. Bring just to a boil or until the butter melts. Remove from heat and allow to cool enough that you can touch it with out being burned.

After the mixture cools add it to your electric mixer as well as 2 cups of your bread flour. Mix for 30 seconds with your dough hook.

Add in your yeast and oats. Mix until incorporated.

Turn mixer onto medium speed and pour in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time. Stop when the dough is just slightly sticky but you can still handle it.

Turn mixer on high and mix for 5 minutes or until the dough is elastic and smooth. If the Bread seems too stick at any point during this process go ahead and add in 1/4 cup of flour and then continue mixing.

*If you do not own a stand mixer, you can knead it by hand. Instead of using the mixer, pour dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed for 8-10 minutes. Or until it is smooth and elastic.

When you are finished kneading or using the stand mixer. Place dough into a buttered bowl. Set it in a warm spot with a dish towel over the top to rise. Approximately one hour or until the dough has doubled in size. If your house is cold or drafty it will take much longer. I like to set my dough on the top of my stove with the oven on/cracked a tad. My house is normally 75 degrees when I want my breads to rise.

After it has risen, punch dough down. Separate into 2 equal portions. Shape and form to fit two buttered bread loaf pans. Place dough in pans, cover and allow to rise until it has doubled in size. Approximately 45 minutes.  After it has risen, brush with melted butter and top with extra oats on the tops.

To make roll instead of dividing dough into 2 equal portions. Divide into 24 equal balls. Place onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Spread about 1/2-1 inch apart. Cover and allow to rise until doubled. About 20-30 minutes. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with extra oats.

 To bake the  bread preheat oven to 400 and bake for about 30 minutes or until it is golden  and sounds hollow when you flick the tops of the loaves.

For the rolls bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.



Maple Cinnamon Butter

Ingredients:

1 cup room temperature butter
1./4 cup maple syrup
1 tbs cinnamon

Directions:

With an electric mixer whip butter with syrup and cinnamon until fluffy. Refrigerate until ready to use.    



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11.18.2012

Sweet Potato Pie with a No Roll Crust




The Friday before I went to go meet Joy the Baker, I made her Dad's Perfect Sweet Potato Pie with her No Roll Crust from, Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes. I'm such a nerd... I made it FOR her. Boxing up one perfect little slice with pretty ribbon and gifted it to her.


To my surprise... guess what pie we were making in her pie making class! Like we didn't have enough sweet potato pie going around that day haha.

She was so sweet opening the box right off and taking a big sniff. She was clearly excited and flattered that I brought a slice of the pie I had made for the next Sundays With Joy.



This pie is so simple and perfect, you will have to make it this year for Thanksgiving.

It's much like a pumpkin pie, in fact if you told me it was pumpkin I would not know any better! Joy's recipe calls for a lot of coriander. Coriander isn't something I use a ton of and did not have any in the house, so I subbed all the added spices in the pie for pumpkin spice mix. I also in true Carrie fashion thought I had evaporated milk in the house... well what I had was a gazillion cans of sweetened condensed milk. So I made some adaptions there.



My recipe changes were a success, the pie was delicious and one of the best I had had in a long long time.

What I also loved about this pie was the oh so easy press in pie crust. I always make pastry, and probably do not make pies as often as I would like because I don't have the time to deal with the crust. This is such a great go to crust recipe when you want something easy, and don't feel like the flour mess of rolling the crust out!

In the class we made the pie as is in the book, coriander and all. It was delicious. But I will admit I preferred the pie I made at home rather than the one in class because of the coriander flavor. It's just not my thing. BUT if it is yours... then by all means stick to Joy's recipe!




Sweet Potato Pie w/ a No Roll Crust
(Adapted from Joy the Bakers: Dad's Perfect Sweet Potato Pie)

Ingredients:

2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
10 oz sweetened condensed milk

3 large eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract


Directions:

In a pot over medium heat, add cooked sweet potatoes, brown sugar, spices, butter, half of your sweetened condensed milk. Cook for about five minutes whisking continuously or until the brown sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth. 

Remove from heat and cool a bit

Meanwhile whisk eggs, the remaining sweetened condensed milk and vanilla together. When the sweet potato has cooled enough whisk them into egg mixture.

FOR THE CRUST:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup frozen butter, grated with a cheese grater
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon cream cheese, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons cold milk

Directions:
 In a bowl whisk flour, salt, sugar and baking powder together. With your hands work in the butter oil and cream cheese until it resembles crumbles. Mix in milk.
Press into the bottom and sides of a 10 inch pie plate.   
Place the crust in the freezer, while you wait for the oven to preheat.
Preheat oven to 450.
 Pour pie filling into chilled crust . Bake for 10 minutes. Then turn the oven temperature down to 325 and bake for an hour or until the center of the pie has set and jiggles just a tad. 

Are you a member of Sundays with Joy? If so please link up below! If not and you want to become one? Click HERE for info!


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11.16.2012

Spinach Feta Veggie Burgers w/ Crispy Fried Onions and Roasted Tomatoes




I feel like I am breaking some unspoken blogger rule right now by not posting a seasonal Turkey Day recipe.

I have my share of them, and more to come next week. But this burger was just so good I had to share it with you all!

I'm becoming the master of making fun and interesting veggie burger combos. My husband is quite happy with my menu choices. He went nutty for this burger. Eating it for dinner, lunch and then dinner again!



My husband doesn't give me much for feed back when I ask how good a dish is. Or if it's blog worthy. I get the "Yeah, it's good" with a shoulder shrug. How I know he really likes something is when he goes for seconds, thirds, or then eats the same thing for days in a row.

After that, I know it's safe to share with my readers!

This burger is simple really. Not too much to it. The base is pureed chick peas, some sauteed onions, bell peppers, spinach, and feta cheese. Topped with more fresh spinach, some crispy fried onions (YUM), and because I don't like big slices of raw tomato, I roasted a few slices and topped the burger with those.

This is a burger that vegetarians and carnivores can get behind!
 


Spinach Feta Veggie Burgers with Crispy Fried Onions and Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients:

1 15 ounce can chick peas drained and rinsed
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup diced onions
1/4 cup diced bell peppers
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin 
3/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
(Veggie stock Optional)

FOR THE TOPPINGS:
1 medium onion sliced thin
2 tbs olive oil; divided
1/2 tsp salt; divided
1 large tomato  sliced

Directions:

In your food processor, add in chick peas, bread crumbs, onion and egg. Pulse until pureed. Add in bell pepper, pulse a few times just to dice the pepper and incorporate it. 

Add in remaining burger ingredients pulse a few times just until combined.

If the burgers seem to dry, add in a bit of vegetable stock. If they are too wet, add in more bread crumbs 1 tbs at a time.

Form burgers into patties. Should yield about 4 burgers. 

Fry in an oiled fry pan over medium/high heat. About 4 minutes on one side then flip and fry for another 2-3 minutes on the other side. OR until the burgers are golden brown.

Place on your favorite whole wheat burger buns. I make my own! For the recipe click HERE.  

To start your toppings. 

In a fry pan over medium/high heat, add in 1 tbs olive oil, 1 medium onion, and 1/4 tsp of salt fry until crispy and browned. Remove from pan and place onto a paper towel to strain some of the oil off.

For the tomatoes. Preheat oven to 400. On a parchment paper  lined cookie sheet place tomato slices in one layer, drizzle with remaining olive oil and salt.

Roast for about 10 minutes or until they are starting to caramelize on the tops.

With a spatula carefully remove from the cookie sheets onto the prepared burgers. Top with the fried onions.... 

And then stuff your face!





  
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11.15.2012

Cranberry Tangerine Bars With Chocolate Shortbread Crust


Once a month a group of us get together to celebrate our love for chocolate. 


This  month for our Chocolate Party our challenge was to create something with cranberries and chocolate. If you want to learn more about the group make sure to visit the link above or check out the Facebook page to join!



At first I wanted to make a cranberry cream pie with a chocolate crust, then I was thinking of a cranberry filled cream puff with a chocolate ganache.... then these bars came to me when I was tossing the idea of making a curd with the abundance of cranberries I have in my fridge!


The idea behind them is much like a lemon bar. It's a curd topping over a shortbread crust.


What I love most about them is their brilliant color. MAN did they come out pretty. The contrast of pink, brown and orange makes me want to show case them.... not eat them!



Cranberry Tangerine Bars w/ Chocolate Shortbread Crust

Ingredients:

12 oz of fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
the juice and zest of 2 medium tangerines
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup flour
2 eggs

Crust:

1 cup of all purpose flour
1/4 cup coco powder
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold water

(Additional tangerine zest for garnish)

Directions:

In a 2 qt sauce pan add cranberries, sugar, juice and zest. Simmer on medium low heat for about 15 minutes or until all the berries have popped and you have a cranberry sauce.

Pour cranberry mixture into a fine sieve over a large bowl. Push berry juice through leaving all the pulpy parts behind. You should be left with a thin curd like mixture.

Whisk in salt, eggs, and flour.

For your crust.

In the bowl of your electric mixer using the paddle attachment. Add flour, coco, butter, and salt together. Mix on medium speed until it is crumbly. Slowly pour in cold water until a dough comes together.

Press dough on the bottom of a parchment paper lined 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish.

Pour cranberry curd topping onto the uncooked crust.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until the center has set and only jiggles slightly.

Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving. Sprinkle with remaining tangerine zest.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


 



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11.14.2012

Skinny Twice Baked Potato Bites



If you could choose one Thanksgiving side dish to make an entire meal out of, what would it be?

For me it would be Twice Baked Potatoes. I could eat a giant serving of those cheesy, rich, bacon topped spuds.



My scale would not be happy with me though.

This year instead of making them sinful and high in calories, I've opted to make a skinnier version. Guess what they still taste sinful!


My friends over Cabot Cheese have made a wonderful thing.... Sharp Cheddar Cheese with 75% less fat!! It still has that cheesy, sharpness I look for in a cheese but without all the guilt. I combined that with some fat free sour cream, neufatel cheese, and some Brummel and Brown buttery spread that is made with yogurt. I then decided even with the lower fat dairy products the portion size is much too large. So after baking I sliced them into bit sized pieces.



My favorite side dish can now be an appetizer!



Skinny Twice Baked Potato Bites

Ingredients:
4 baked potatoes cooled 
2 tbs of butter substitute
2 oz neufatel cheese
1 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
2 cloves of minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Skim Milk (Optional if potato mixture is too dry)
Diced scallions or chives for garnish

Directions:

Cut potatoes length wise in half. Scrape potato out of skins into a medium mixing bowl.

Mash potato w/ all of the remaining ingredients using only 1/2 of the cheddar cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. I used about a 1/2 tsp of salt and a few dashes of fresh ground black pepper.

Spoon mashed potatoes into potato skins.

Top with remaining cheddar cheese.

Bake at 400 for for about 20 minutes. Or until cheese is browned on top.

Allow to cool for abot 15 minutes. Slice into 1-2 inch slices. Garnish with green onions or chives.  
     
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